Beaujolais Wine Guide: From Nouveau to Cru

Oct 27, 2023by Andrew Lowry


Introduction to Beaujolais

Beaujolais winery

Beaujolais, a wine region nestled in eastern France, is renowned for its fruity, light-bodied red wines made from the Gamay grape. This guide will take you on a journey through the different types of Beaujolais, from the fun and contentious Beaujolais Nouveau to the prestigious Cru Beaujolais. We'll explore the best wines, vintages, and even delve into the world of natural winemaking. Let's dive in!

The Three Tiers of Beaujolais

Beaujolais wines are classified into three quality levels, each offering a unique experience:

  1. Beaujolais: The most basic level, containing fruit from anywhere in the region.
  2. Beaujolais-Villages: A step up in quality, sourced from 36 specific villages.
  3. Cru Beaujolais: The crème de la crème, produced in 10 designated towns.

Beaujolais AOC

  • Covers the entire Beaujolais region
  • Often inexpensive and enjoyable
  • Best for casual drinking

Beaujolais-Villages AOC

  • Sourced from 36 hillside villages
  • Better quality than standard Beaujolais
  • Rarely mentions specific village names on the label

Cru Beaujolais

  • Represents the highest quality
  • Produced in 10 specific towns
  • Often doesn't mention "Beaujolais" on the label

The Ten Crus of Beaujolais

Each Cru has its unique character, offering wine enthusiasts a diverse range of flavors and styles:

  1. Brouilly: Fruity and floral, light-bodied
  2. Chénas: Deep color, pronounced tannins, good aging potential
  3. Chiroubles: Elegant and delicate, floral aromas
  4. Côte de Brouilly: Rich and concentrated, good aging potential
  5. Fleurie: Known as the "Queen of Beaujolais," elegant and feminine
  6. Juliénas: Robust structure, spicy notes
  7. Morgon: Full-bodied with dark fruit flavors
  8. Moulin-à-Vent: Powerful and structured, excellent aging potential
  9. Régnié: Light and delicate, approachable
  10. Saint-Amour: Charming and romantic, popular for special occasions

Top Beaujolais Wines to Try

Five Famous Bottles

  1. Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau
  2. Domaine Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py
  3. Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon
  4. Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud Morgon Côte du Py
  5. Domaine Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers

Best Beaujolais Vintages

  • 2015: Rich, concentrated, excellent aging potential
  • 2018: Vibrant acidity, ripe fruit flavors
  • 2019: Perfect balance of fruitiness and freshness

Other Notable Vintages

  • 2009: Ripe fruit flavors, velvety texture
  • 2011: Vibrant acidity, elegant structure
  • 2014: Fresh, pure, delicate aromatics

Natural Winemaking in Beaujolais

The Birthplace of Natural Wine

Beaujolais has become synonymous with natural winemaking, a holistic approach that prioritizes:

  • Organic and biodynamic farming practices
  • Minimal intervention in the vineyard and cellar
  • Use of native yeasts for fermentation
  • Avoidance of additives

Pioneers of Natural Winemaking

  • Marcel Lapierre: Part of the "Gang of Four," set benchmarks for natural wines
  • Jean Foillard: Gained international recognition for pure and elegant wines
  • Other notable producers: Jean-Louis Dutraive, Yvon Métras, Guy Breton

Beaujolais Nouveau: A Controversial Comeback

What is Beaujolais Nouveau?

  • Made from Gamay grapes
  • Fermented for just a few weeks
  • Released on the third Thursday of November each year
  • Known for its youthful, fruity character

From Controversy to Resurgence

  • Once criticized for lack of complexity
  • Recent focus on quality and sustainable practices
  • Gaining popularity among younger wine drinkers
  • Appreciated for its freshness and versatility

Food Pairings for Beaujolais

Beaujolais wines are incredibly food-friendly. Here are some perfect pairings:

  • Charcuterie and cheese platters
  • Roasted poultry
  • Grilled vegetables
  • Light pasta dishes
  • Salmon or tuna

Beaujolais in San Diego at Harvest Wine Shop

Ready to explore the wonderful world of Beaujolais? Look no further than Harvest Wine Shop in San Diego! We offer a curated selection of Beaujolais wines for delivery right to your doorstep.

Why Choose Harvest Wine Shop?

  • Expert-curated selection of Beaujolais wines
  • Convenient shipping throughout San Diego
  • Knowledgeable staff to assist with your choices

Don't miss out on experiencing the magic of Beaujolais. Visit our website or give us a call to discover our current Beaujolais offerings and have them delivered to your home. Whether you're a Beaujolais Nouveau enthusiast or a Cru Beaujolais connoisseur, we have the perfect bottle waiting for you!